Saturday, 6 October 2012

What I did do, what I didn't do - an overview.

Almost 3 years ago I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the right breast. Two tumours measured a combined 2.4cms. They were oestrogen and progesterone positive and HER negative. I had widespread calcification and onset of Pagets disease of the nipple. I had a mastectomy, and a full lymphatic clearance which showed cancer in 1 of 32 nodes.

I didn't do chemotherapy, radiotherapy or Tamoxifen.

What I did do was read, research, take responsibility, change my diet and become proactive. I learned what it meant to love myself, I changed into my best self. I began a journey into health and consciousness.

I un-learned what I thought I knew about cancer, and I now firmly believe that it's simply the outward symptom of a toxic and deficient body.

What follows is an overview of what I did, with links to doctors and practitioners where possible. I'll go into more detail in later posts. 

My initial focus lay in detoxifying and re-nutrifying my body, and in re-booting my immune system. I'm an impatient person, but I understood that it would take time to restore my body's homeostasis. It had potentially taken up to 7 years for those tumours to grow in my breast, but it had taken a lifetime to create the right environment for cancer to develop in the first place.

First step: change of diet. I had been a vegetarian for 25 years, but had no idea about nutrition. I was so lucky to be re-educated by my close friend Tea, who is a nutritional therapist I cut out alcohol, sugar, caffeine, salt and gluten. Eggs and dairy went last, and a year after diagnosis I became a vegan (although I'm now eating organic free-range eggs again). I stopped heating any oil other than coconut. It's the only oil that is stable at high temperatures, and that the body can easily assimilate. I began using only cold pressed flax oil for salad dressings. Flax oil is rich in the right balance of essential fatty acids and phytoestrogens (healthy hormone balancers). I think it's worth stressing that what is added to your diet is just as important as what is eliminated. A toxic, acidic body finds absorption difficult, so your diet needs to be as nutrient rich and unchallenging as possible. I started eating whole, unprocessed food, like short grain brown rice (which holds a lot of water, and is hydrating for the gut), nut milks and masses of organic vegetables and fruit in the form of juices, salads and smoothies. 

I invested in a reverse osmosis, alkalising water filter to avoid the many toxins in our water from fluoride and chlorine, to residues from drugs such as birth control pills (full of oestrogen) and Prozac.

Coffee enemas were an important part of my detoxification. Coffee stimulates the bile duct and helps to flush the liver of toxins. I supported my liver with regular castor oil packs and took epsom salt baths to further aid detoxification. I supplemented with magnesium, B vitamins, D3 and Krill oil taken with protein (the only non-vegan part of my diet). More supplements came as and when I felt my body could cope, and after intensive blood and urine sampling with a functional doctor, Robert Jacobs to determine exactly what was needed.  

I had vitamin C infusions with hydrogen peroxide and hyperthermia. Vitamin C at high doses acts as a natural cytotoxin, in much the same way as chemotherapy, but without targeting healthy dividing cells (and on the up-side it makes you feel amazing!).

Hypnotherapy helped me to address a deep underlying fear that I wasn't 'good enough'. I didn't want to sabotage all of my efforts with a belief that I would fail. I read books about emotional healing, spiritual development, the power of positive thoughts and affirmations.

I saw therapists as and when things resonated with me: homeopathy, (Penny Hill), acupuncture, reiki, lymphatic drainage At times it felt great to have a massage based upon a loving touch, rather than an invasive prod from a surgeon.

Instead of mammograms I opted for safer thermo-scans with Dr Nyjon Eccles

Nicola Hembry recommended minimal residual disease testing. This measures the levels of circulating cancer cells in the blood, which can then be tested against natural compounds to see what is most effective at stimulating apoptosis (cell suicide) or inhibiting angiogenesis (stopping the development of new blood vessels).

With the financial help of Yes2 Life I bought a FAR infrared sauna which I used daily as an aid to detoxification. Infrared saunas can also tip cancer cells into apoptosis.

Because I believe that cancer is caused by a cumulative burden it has been important to address every area of toxicity. For me that meant buying a unit to neutralise electromagnetic pollution from WIFI, mobile phones and computers in my home. It also meant changing all of my skincare, make-up, toothpaste, and cleaning products for clean, organic, natural versions.

Finally (although she came somewhere near the beginning!) is Patricia Peat, an ex-oncology nurse, and a fantastic resource, who can direct you to treatments (allopathic, complimentary and alternative) specific to your cancer.

It's hard to understand the impact of a cancer diagnosis unless you've had one. For me it was an enormous wake up call. It forced me to un-learn lots of things which I had believed as truths my whole life. It encouraged me to learn about how my body works and to listen to it, to face my fear of death and to become present. Nearly 3 years on, my health is still a work in progress, and the best bit is that there is so much more to learn.

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